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More KIP allocation analysis

October 26, 2009

Canwest reporter David Akin, who has been performing yeoman’s work tracking government spending announcements through his twitter feed, has released his own analysis of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program spending allocations. While his numbers and mine differ to some degree, they both point to the same trends – namely, that the money in the KIP program is not being preferentially spent in Conservative ridings.

Akin finds, in fact, that Liberal and NDP ridings are receiving a disproportionate share of the funding, based on seat totals in the House of Commons. The Liberal strength is mostly due to its showing in Quebec (where both McGill and Concordia are in Liberal ridings), whereas the NDP shows strength across the country. The Conservatives are actually receiving less than their seat-percentage share, according to Akin.

This disparity may be explained by the overrepresentation of Canada’s largest universities in non-Conservative ridings, as I pointed out last week. UofT, UBC, York, UdeM, etc are all in ridings that are Liberal or NDP (sometimes both).

The numbers for this analysis are subject to a number of caveats. First, many of colleges and universities who are receiving funding have multiple campuses spread among several ridings, and it isn’t clear where the money is actually being spent. Announcements for specific campuses were appropriately segregated in my analysis, and are sometimes revealing (UofT received three funding announcements in the May 29 spending announcements, one for each of the downtown, Scarborough, and Mississauga campuses, located in NDP, Liberal, and Conservative ridings, respectively).

Second, the government has not made the spending details of the program easy to find. Despite promises of transparency, I had to wade through countless individual spending announcements on the KIP website, and compile the numbers by hand. David Akin reports having visited more than 200 Industry Canada web pages to accumulate his data. The government is still announcing new projects, but is not making details available, suggesting they will be made available “at a later date”. Given the multitude of announcements spread across various sources, it isn’t surprising that Akin and I arrived at different figures, in the details. Given the size and importance of the stimulus money, the government should be doing a better job of making the figures publicly accessible.

Here is the summary from Akin’s nice piece of work:

Where is the money going?

• Conservatives won 46% of ridings and those ridings are getting 38% of Knowledge Infrastructure Program grants.

• Liberals won 25% of ridings and those ridings are getting 29% of Knowledge Infrastructure Program grants.

• The NDP won 12% of ridings and those ridings are getting 25% of Knowledge Infrastructure Program grants.

• The BQ won 65% of Quebec’s seats and are getting 57% of Quebec’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program money.

Biggest Knowledge Infrastructure Program Winners

• University of Sherbrooke (Quebec) is getting $82.95-million in funding. Serge Cardin of the Bloc Quebecois is the local MP.

• The University of Toronto is getting $75.5-million in funding for projects in three different ridings, represented by an NDP, Liberal and Conservative MP.

• The University of Calgary is getting $66.2-million in funding. Conservative Rob Anders is the local MP.

• The University of Alberta is getting $62.1-million in funding. New Democrat Linda Duncan is the local MP.

• The University of Waterloo is getting $50-million. Conservative Peter Braid is the local MP.

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